Friday, December 04, 2015

Kicking The Harper Habit

The Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, were addicted to power. Michael Harris writes:

The Conservative Party of Canada is still deep in the throes of withdrawal — and the addiction to absolute power is the hardest habit of all to kick. Their thrashing on October 19 came about because of what they did with that power — that, and the fact that they allowed their party to become a cult led by a man who diminished them all. The lesson clearly hasn’t sunk in.

That's clear every time Rona Ambrose opens her mouth. But Ambrose isn't the only one to not have taken the election to heart.  Consider the case of Erin OToole, who briefly replaced Julian Fantino as Minister of Veterans Affairs:

In a recent blog post, O’Toole tried to make the case that Justin Trudeau displayed “hubris” when he said Canada was “back” the day after the election.

It wasn’t hubris. It was the way a lot of Canadians saw it. The “hubris” actually belonged to the former minister of Veterans’ Affairs, who has been drawing some rather absurd parallels between the policies of the new government and those of the old one.

He really couldn’t have picked worse examples. For starters, he claimed that the Liberals “abandoned” their promise to bring 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees to Canada, leaving them with a policy that looked a lot like Harper’s.

Trudeau did not “abandon” his promise — he rescheduled part of it. The number is still 25,000 — higher than the Conservative number — but the arrival times were moved three months down the road. Nor is the Trudeau PMO screening the refugee files to prioritize Christian candidates. Despite the verdict at the polls, O’Toole is still pushing rejected Harper policy.

But where O’Toole became poisonously partisan was in his claim that the Liberals are pursuing the same policy on climate change as the Conservatives did at the Paris talks. O’Toole’s party did nothing for the environment during its decade in power, except make it more vulnerable to destructive resource exploitation.

Harper promised for seven years running that he would regulate the energy sector. He never did. It takes an awful lot of hubris to defend seven years of sitting on your hands.

Clearly, the Conservatives haven't kicked their Harper habit.


The Mound of Sound said...

The wheels have fallen off the Conservative Clown Car but they're still trying to get it down the road. We have some interesting months ahead, Owen, as both opposition parties try to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Old school Tories, the PC contingent, want their party back. Mulroney as much as said that's the only way forward in his recent speech. Then there's the NDP. Well they've got Mona running the shop for the moment which means they're heading for a serious case of Trench Brain any time now.

The Dippers under Layton/Mulcair went way out on a limb and cut the damned thing right out from underneath themselves in their quest for the brass ring. They practically invited what Greg Fingas calls "promiscuous progressives" to flock to Trudeau. They can still get back to the Left of the Liberals but that would mean abandoning their fantasies of forming government. The beating heart of the New Democrats, again the old school, wants the party to return to its founding principles.

Each of these parties has two camps vying to take the reins. Each party has a contingent who seek to maintain the failed status quo and another group that wants to go back to basics. It won't necessarily lead to civil war but it could get rancorous. Let the elbow wrestling begin. It's an unearned perk for Trudeau to have both opposition parties beset by infighting.

Owen Gray said...

It took ten years for the Liberals to come to terms with the Adscam scandal, Mound. Who knows how long it will take the Conservatives and the Dippers to come to terms with their own mistakes?